Hollyhock Hollow Sanctuary
Town of Selkirk
Approximately 3.5 miles of trails over moderate/easy terrain
This 134-acre sanctuary was the former estate of University at Albany Professor Dr. Robert Rienow and his wife Leona Train Rienow, an accomplished writer. Passionate about nature, the Rienows allowed the forest on this once open farmland property to regenerate. Upon Dr. Rienow’s death in 1988, the sanctuary was bequeathed to Audubon International for use as a public preserve and served as the organization’s headquarters until 2013. In January of 2020, Audubon International transferred ownership of Hollyhock Hollow Sanctuary to the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy.
46 Rarick Rd., Selkirk, NY
From Albany, take Delaware Avenue (RT-443) west and turn left on to Elm Avenue (RT-32). Continue on Elm Avenue for 3 miles, then take a left Old Quarry Road (CR-102). Continue on Old Quarry Road for 3 miles, then turn right on Rarick Road. The parking area will be on your left, about a quarter-mile down Rarick Road.
The trails of Hollyhock Hollow Sanctuary weave through the serene deciduous forest making their way around the distinctive geological features carved out by the Onesquethaw Creek. With a flow sustained by numerous underground springs, the creek provides an ideal habit for many plants and animals.
Nestled in the forest, the sanctuary’s pond attracts many species of birds such as the belted kingfisher and great blue heron. Water feeds the pond and creek through underground caves that run approximately north to south along the property. These caves are not large enough to be accessible but are a unique feature that is iconic to the limestone geology of the area.
Vibrant perennial gardens surround the old home site and the remaining O’Neil House, a reminder of the life enjoyed by the Rienows and their colleagues who lived in this treasured place.